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How Peppermint Essential Oil Enhances Mountain Living

Mountain living comes with a lot of benefits: clean, fresh air, unlimited access to the great outdoors, and unbelievable scenery. Even so, all of these positive aspects may come at a price to those who aren’t used to life at high altitude. The body can be pretty quick to adapt to changes, but sometimes you need to give it a little help. A trip to the mountains can be carefree if you take a few precautions. Packing Mountain Gear and a small bottle of peppermint essential oil can help you fight the beginning symptoms of altitude sickness.

dripper with essential oil bottle

How Can Essential Oils Help?

When you think of packing for a weekend getaway, essential oils may not be at the top of your list. Even so, these tiny bottles have a surprising amount of health benefits. While all oils are beneficial in their own way, peppermint essential oil is particularly helpful for symptoms you may feel at higher altitudes.

One of the best aspects of essential oils is that they are so versatile. You can sniff them directly from the bottle, breathe them through a personal diffuser, diffuse them throughout a room, add them to a bath, rub them onto the soles of your feet, or mix them with a carrier oil to use for massage. You can also add them to salves and other DIY projects for your medicine cabinet. The possibilities are endless.

Peppermint essential oil is beneficial for your respiratory, digestive, and circulatory systems. All of these systems of the body are affected at higher altitudes, and peppermint oil can be used in many different ways to help alleviate any discomfort.

woman sneezing in blue blanket

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

Many people who head to high altitudes feel as though they are beginning to come down with a cold. More often than not, these are actually the beginning signs of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is also referred to as acute mountain sickness (AMS) and common symptoms include:

    • Difficulty sleeping

    • Dizziness

    • Lightheadedness

    • Loss of appetite

    • Rapid pulse

    • Shortness of breath

Acute mountain sickness is easy to treat when symptoms are caught early. If you are at a higher altitude and begin to feel under the weather, the best thing you can do is descend. Staying properly hydrated and eating high-carbohydrate foods can also help. If you move to a lower elevation, and you still feel symptoms, peppermint essential oil can be used to ease your discomfort.

peppermint leaves

Using Peppermint Essential Oil to Ease Symptoms

Menthol makes up approximately one-third of the composition of peppermint essential oil. This powerful terpene is known for having antibacterial, analgesic, antipyretic, and carminative properties. It is also known for its abilities to act as a numbing agent, clear acne, stimulate hair growth, and ease respiratory problems.

Relieves Headaches

Peppermint essential oil has powerful analgesic properties that can help ease the pain of headaches. One of the first symptoms of altitude sickness you may experience is a headache, and if you manage to catch it early you can avoid experiencing any other symptoms.

Oftentimes simply passing a bottle of peppermint essential oil under your nose can help ground you and ease headache pain. If you need something a little more powerful, you can mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil and gently massage onto your temples until the pain subsides.

A handful of different studies have focused on the effects of peppermint oil on headache pain. Findings have shown that peppermint oil is significantly more effective than a placebo in remedying headaches, and it is often as effective as over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen). 1


Nausea is a common symptom of altitude sickness, and in more severe cases, it may be accompanied by vomiting. Peppermint essential oil is one of the best oils to turn to when feeling nauseous. It can also help alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ease painful cramps from menstruation, reduce excess gas, and soothe the stomach.

One of the easiest ways to ease nausea is by simply smelling peppermint essential oil straight from the bottle. Anytime you feel a bit queasy, simply pass the bottle under your nose.

When used with caution, peppermint essential oil can be taken internally in small doses. If you feel an upset stomach coming on, try adding a drop or two of peppermint essential oil to a glass of water. While it may seem like a small dose, essential oils are highly concentrated, and even a single drop can help ease your pain. Alternatively, mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil and massage onto your abdomen.

woman yawning


When participating in physical activities at a higher altitude, you may realize that you don’t have as much energy as you’re used to. Since the air at high altitude contains less oxygen per volume, your body struggles to provide itself with enough oxygen to function as normal. If altitude sickness begins to set in, you may find yourself feeling fatigued and unmotivated.

The scent of peppermint essential oil is invigorating and can help ward off fatigue. Peppermint is also known for its abilities to boost cognitive function and improve focus. In some cases, it has even been shown to help boost athletic performance.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition focused on the effects of peppermint essential oil on exercise performance. In the study, 12 healthy males drank a bottle of water containing 0.05 mL of peppermint oil every day for 10 days. Each day they participated in a treadmill-based exercise test. The results of the study showed that supplementing with peppermint oil had positive effects on exercise performance, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and more. 2

To alleviate feelings of fatigue, sniff peppermint essential oil directly from the bottle. If your fatigue is accompanied by sore or tired muscles, try diluting a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a carrier oil and massage onto sore areas.

Respiratory Problems

One of the benefits that peppermint essential oil is best known for is its ability to ease respiratory problems. This is especially helpful when suffering from the cold or flu, but it can also be helpful when feeling the effects of altitude sickness. Simply inhaling peppermint essential oil can help open the nasal passages and allow you to take in the maximum amount of oxygen possible.

With the reduced amount of oxygen in the air, it is especially important to ensure that your circulatory system is operating at its best. Luckily, peppermint essential oil can also help increase circulation, ensuring that oxygen is being delivered to all systems of your body. To boost circulation, dilute a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a carrier oil and rub onto the soles of your feet.

When you start feeling the negative effects of high altitude, simply take a breath from Mountain. This powerful blend can help open your airways, ease headaches, and promote feelings of resilience. Once your body has acclimated to the higher altitude, continuing to use Mountain can mimic the effects of mountain air and promote overall wellness.

Photo credits: NewAfrica/, DraganaGordic/, catalina.m/, A.andI.Kruk/

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